The 2017 chapter of the Cloudland-Hampton football rivalry didn’t disappoint.
The October 6 clash was selected as the Best of Carter County Sports Game of the Year, while Jordan Coffey’s game-winning interception with a minute left to play was voted the Best of Carter County Sports Play of the Year.
Coffey’s interception preserved a 22-20 ‘Lander victory that snapped Cloudland’s 13-game losing streak to the Bulldogs. Hampton was driving into Cloudland territory to get within striking distance on a two-minute drill offensive drive, but the drive was stopped when Coffey jumped in front of a pass to set off the celebration among the ‘Landers and the Cloudland faithful.
Hampton opened the game strong.
The Bulldogs marched down the field quickly as Jason Russell capped off the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run. The conversion was unsuccessful as HHS held a 6-0 advantage two minutes into the game.
After the teams traded possessions, Coffey answered on a 25-yard touchdown run for Cloudland. Josh Blair added the two-point conversion as the ‘Landers took an 8-6 lead into the second quarter.
Hampton struck quickly in the second period as Hunter Davenport added a 14-yard touchdown. That gave the Bulldogs a 12-8 lead.
On the next possession, Coffey scored his second touchdown of the night on a short two-yard run. Malachi Benfield found Jed Childress in the end zone for the conversion.
The ‘Landers defense stalled the next Hampton drive by jumping on a fumble, and CHS took a 16-12 lead into the half.
Defense was the story in the second half.
Cloudland was forced off the field after a turnover on downs. Russell and the Bulldog offense moved into scoring position, but Hunter Blair jumped on a fumble to stall the drive at the Cloudland 10.
The ‘Landers offense took full advantage. CHS held the ball for the next nine minutes – stretching into the fourth quarter. J. Blair capped the drive off with a 3-yard touchdown run as CHS took a 22-12 lead with 8:29 to play in the game.
The Bulldogs, however, wasted no time in fighting back.
After moving the ball to midfield, Russell tossed the ball to Alex Hardin who then found Davenport for a 46-yard touchdown. Hardin hit Gavin Hardin for the conversion as Hampton closed the gap to 22-20 with 7:15 to play.
Cloudland was forced to punt with 3:31 left to play. The Bulldogs moved the ball to midfield with a combination attack of the run and throws game. Coffey, however, jumped in front of a pass to end the game and secure the game for Cloudland with a minute remaining.
Coffey finished the game with 178 yards on 31 carries, while H. Blair added 12 carries for 67 yards. Benfield had 54 yards on seven carries.
“We made some big plays,” Lunsford said. “Coffey played unreal and the blocking backs did a great job.”
For Hampton, Davenport had 104 yards off 17 carries and also added 87 yards on two catches. Russell tallied 90 yards on 15 attempts. Russell also went 4-of-5 pass for 113 yards, while Hardin was 2-for-2 with 61 yards.
“We had a rough time stopping them all night,” Hampton Head Coach Michael Lunsford said. “They have those physical backs and run that power-I and get two-three yards. I thought we gave great effort and the defense came up huge to get the stop. We just came up a little bit short.”